The Virtual Liver Portal: showcasing scientific data of Virtual Liver Network for both expert and the non-expert public
The liver has several vital functions in our organism. The consumption of medical drugs, alcohol, fat food and toxins of bacteria or viruses can damage the liver. The damaged by a single consumption liver might recover within two weeks. However the repeated (chronical) liver damage can lead to liver failure. Without the liver we cannot survive.
To keep our liver healthy and to get it fast recovered, scientists, clinicians and non-expert public should have knowledge about healthy and diseased liver. Analyzing the existing knowledge and acquiring new knowledge about the healthy and diseased liver is a main goal of Virtual Liver Network (VLN).
VLN project is a Systems Biology initiative (http://www.virtual-liver.de) funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research that involves more than 250 researchers (biologists, bioinformaticians and clinicians) in 70 groups all over Germany.
VLN investigates and models the liver physiology and pathology at different levels of organization e.g. body, organ, lobule and cell. The results lead to the publishing hundreds of scientific manuscripts that are of interest for specialists. Because of their professional language, the scientific manuscripts are less accessible for the general public. To overcome this limitation and showcase scientific data for the non-expert public, we have developed a webbased platform – the Portal.
The Portal has been designed to facilitate the creation and editing of the content using a content management system Drupal as infrastructure framework. Members of the Virtual Liver Network compose contributions for the content pages and our team supports them with fitting it in the Portal concept and making the contributions ‘public ready’.
The Portal content is presented in form of text with images, video, animations and simulations. Links to SEEK (data management system of VLN) and professional literature is given to the content. As the central outreach platform of the whole VLN community, the Portal is maintained by regular input from VLN members.
The Portal informs, educates and engages both the expert and non-expert public in field of liver health and disease.